Commentary Magazine


Posts For: December 5, 2009

The True Administration of Justice is the Firmest Pillar of Good Government

About an hour ago I was holding an umbrella against the wind and rain, in the outer skirts of the crowd that had gathered on Foley Square, Manhattan, to protest Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s impending civil trial. Judging by how much space had been barricaded, I’d say the city must have expected a bigger turnout. Doubtless, the weather deterred many would-be attendees. But the 300-400 people who had shown up were determined and righteously angry—at the president’s and attorney general’s measly arguments for extending to the 9/11 mastermind the same legal privileges of American citizens; at the travesty of justice that his civil trial would entail; and at the cheap rhetorical shots through which the administration is dismissing the critics of its decision.

Several passionate speakers shared the podium, among them close relatives of 9/11 victims and a surviving firefighter from the first-response teams dispatched to the World Trade Center. They all voiced their disgust at how the administration is handling KSM with gloves of moral priggishness. And they also urged the demonstrators to leave no political stone unturned and to buttonhole their representatives until they take responsibility for this disgrace.

It was fitting that the rally stirred at the feet of the New York State Supreme Courthouse, whose Corinthian columns underscore the engraving “The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government.” I wonder what George Washington, who wrote those words to Attorney General Edmund Randolph on September 28, 1789, would think of the kind of trial our current president and attorney general have in store for KSM and of the kind of justice that trial will beget. What is anyone to make of a civil trial whose outcome, whatever it is, will not determine whether the defendant is to be freed and exonerated? I, for one, would not think it civil at all, or just. And neither would the protesters on Foley Square today.  Some photographs from the rally:











About an hour ago I was holding an umbrella against the wind and rain, in the outer skirts of the crowd that had gathered on Foley Square, Manhattan, to protest Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s impending civil trial. Judging by how much space had been barricaded, I’d say the city must have expected a bigger turnout. Doubtless, the weather deterred many would-be attendees. But the 300-400 people who had shown up were determined and righteously angry—at the president’s and attorney general’s measly arguments for extending to the 9/11 mastermind the same legal privileges of American citizens; at the travesty of justice that his civil trial would entail; and at the cheap rhetorical shots through which the administration is dismissing the critics of its decision.

Several passionate speakers shared the podium, among them close relatives of 9/11 victims and a surviving firefighter from the first-response teams dispatched to the World Trade Center. They all voiced their disgust at how the administration is handling KSM with gloves of moral priggishness. And they also urged the demonstrators to leave no political stone unturned and to buttonhole their representatives until they take responsibility for this disgrace.

It was fitting that the rally stirred at the feet of the New York State Supreme Courthouse, whose Corinthian columns underscore the engraving “The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government.” I wonder what George Washington, who wrote those words to Attorney General Edmund Randolph on September 28, 1789, would think of the kind of trial our current president and attorney general have in store for KSM and of the kind of justice that trial will beget. What is anyone to make of a civil trial whose outcome, whatever it is, will not determine whether the defendant is to be freed and exonerated? I, for one, would not think it civil at all, or just. And neither would the protesters on Foley Square today.  Some photographs from the rally:











Read Less

DOJ Employees Subpoenaed: Will Holder Interfere?

As I and others have reported, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) has issued subpoenas to a number of individuals, including at least two members of the Justice Department’s New Black Panther Party (NBPP) trial team, whose case was ordered dismissed by Obama Justice Department political appointees in May of this year, just before a default judgment was to be entered. The DOJ is objecting to the issuance of these subpoenas, but has not yet invoked “executive privilege” or any legal objection that would prevent its employees from cooperating in the USCCR’s ongoing investigation into the DOJ’s decision to dismiss an egregious case of voter intimidation against both the NBPP and two individual defendants.

This report and other sources have confirmed to me that career DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams and Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates were subpoenaed to appear this past week and produce documents relating to the NBPP case. These individuals have direct knowledge of the case. They would be able to testify as to any efforts to interfere with their legal judgment and the reasons preferred to them for dismissing the case. However, Adams’s attorney and Joseph H. Hunt, the director of the Department’s Federal Programs Branch, have engaged in a back-and-forth over Adams’s obligation to appear and give testimony in response to a lawful subpoena. Sources tell me that the DOJ has cited “internal Department regulations” to dissuade their employees from testifying for now. I am informed that the USCCR has postponed the depositions, but has not specifically released any individuals from the obligation to respond. However, in response to a request from Hunt, the USCCR announced in an open meeting on Friday that additional subpoenas and document requests should be directed to the DOJ.

What does this all mean? The Justice Department has a choice. Holder can attempt to block his employees — the people most informed about the case — from giving testimony and providing documents, and he can do so by invoking executive privilege (sometimes characterized in this context as the “deliberative process” privilege), which case law suggests that only the president, or possibly a department head acting on his behalf, can do. Or Holder can cooperate. If the DOJ decides to cooperate and testimony is taken from Adams, Coates, and others we will finally hear how Obama appointees overrode the legal judgment and undid the legal victory of career lawyers.

Meanwhile, Republican Congressmen are losing patience with DOJ’s stonewalling of their requests for updates on the ongoing DOJ’s internal investigation. Republicans will, I believe, soon begin to employ some legislative maneuvers to try to pry information from the DOJ.

And if that were not enough to give heartburn to Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama team, up pops one of the dismissed NBPP defendants. This report explains:

The U.S. Justice Department made the right call in dismissing a voter intimidation lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party and recent questions about that ruling are a “political witch hunt” to discredit Attorney General Eric Holder, the party’s leader said this week. Malik Zulu Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, told The Associated Press the civil lawsuit filed by the federal government had “no merit” because the party doesn’t condone voter intimidation.

Shabazz didn’t stop there, declaring, “I certainly would like black America and all the world to take a second look at the New Black Panther Party at this point and to understand that we’re sincerely trying to help our people.” This is certainly the last thing Holder wanted to hear. But having plunged into the topic, Shabazz would no doubt be a witness of interest to the USCCR, which is conducting a year-long investigation into the case. (Note that Shabazz declined for a number of months to respond to the DOJ lawsuit and would have had a default judgment entered against him if not for the intervention of Obama appointees.)

If Holder thinks his department made the right call (i.e., the case should have been dismissed), it seems as though he would have no reason to resist so strenuously the efforts of the USCCR and of Congress to get to the bottom of the issue. This week we may well begin to learn more about how an obvious case of voter intimidation was dismissed and what that tells us about the Obama administration’s perspective on civil rights.

As I and others have reported, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) has issued subpoenas to a number of individuals, including at least two members of the Justice Department’s New Black Panther Party (NBPP) trial team, whose case was ordered dismissed by Obama Justice Department political appointees in May of this year, just before a default judgment was to be entered. The DOJ is objecting to the issuance of these subpoenas, but has not yet invoked “executive privilege” or any legal objection that would prevent its employees from cooperating in the USCCR’s ongoing investigation into the DOJ’s decision to dismiss an egregious case of voter intimidation against both the NBPP and two individual defendants.

This report and other sources have confirmed to me that career DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams and Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates were subpoenaed to appear this past week and produce documents relating to the NBPP case. These individuals have direct knowledge of the case. They would be able to testify as to any efforts to interfere with their legal judgment and the reasons preferred to them for dismissing the case. However, Adams’s attorney and Joseph H. Hunt, the director of the Department’s Federal Programs Branch, have engaged in a back-and-forth over Adams’s obligation to appear and give testimony in response to a lawful subpoena. Sources tell me that the DOJ has cited “internal Department regulations” to dissuade their employees from testifying for now. I am informed that the USCCR has postponed the depositions, but has not specifically released any individuals from the obligation to respond. However, in response to a request from Hunt, the USCCR announced in an open meeting on Friday that additional subpoenas and document requests should be directed to the DOJ.

What does this all mean? The Justice Department has a choice. Holder can attempt to block his employees — the people most informed about the case — from giving testimony and providing documents, and he can do so by invoking executive privilege (sometimes characterized in this context as the “deliberative process” privilege), which case law suggests that only the president, or possibly a department head acting on his behalf, can do. Or Holder can cooperate. If the DOJ decides to cooperate and testimony is taken from Adams, Coates, and others we will finally hear how Obama appointees overrode the legal judgment and undid the legal victory of career lawyers.

Meanwhile, Republican Congressmen are losing patience with DOJ’s stonewalling of their requests for updates on the ongoing DOJ’s internal investigation. Republicans will, I believe, soon begin to employ some legislative maneuvers to try to pry information from the DOJ.

And if that were not enough to give heartburn to Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama team, up pops one of the dismissed NBPP defendants. This report explains:

The U.S. Justice Department made the right call in dismissing a voter intimidation lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party and recent questions about that ruling are a “political witch hunt” to discredit Attorney General Eric Holder, the party’s leader said this week. Malik Zulu Shabazz, national chairman of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, told The Associated Press the civil lawsuit filed by the federal government had “no merit” because the party doesn’t condone voter intimidation.

Shabazz didn’t stop there, declaring, “I certainly would like black America and all the world to take a second look at the New Black Panther Party at this point and to understand that we’re sincerely trying to help our people.” This is certainly the last thing Holder wanted to hear. But having plunged into the topic, Shabazz would no doubt be a witness of interest to the USCCR, which is conducting a year-long investigation into the case. (Note that Shabazz declined for a number of months to respond to the DOJ lawsuit and would have had a default judgment entered against him if not for the intervention of Obama appointees.)

If Holder thinks his department made the right call (i.e., the case should have been dismissed), it seems as though he would have no reason to resist so strenuously the efforts of the USCCR and of Congress to get to the bottom of the issue. This week we may well begin to learn more about how an obvious case of voter intimidation was dismissed and what that tells us about the Obama administration’s perspective on civil rights.

Read Less

Where Do They Stand?

The 9/11 Coalition to Never Forget is holding a rally in Foley Square in New York City today to protest the Obama administration’s decision to try KSM and his fellow 9/11 terrorists in a civilian court. A group of Hollywood stars including Robert Duval, Jon Voight, and Brian Dennehy have signed a letter, which reads:

Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try the 9/11 mastermind and four other terrorists in a civilian court, rather than by the military justice system, should not be allowed to remain without challenge. Not only does it put the national security of the United States of America at risk, but it is a travesty of our justice system. It brings additional heartache to the families and friends of the 9/11 victims, the first responders, and the concerned citizens of New York whose lives were changed forever.

This is not just a New York tragedy, but a terrorist threat to our country and freedom loving people around the world. It provides a platform for these terrorists to spew their propaganda and hatred to the world from a courthouse just blocks from Ground Zero.

We stand with 9/11 families, New York City’s first responders and the U.S. military who will be forced to cope with the consequences of this dangerous decision if it is not reversed.

Perhaps congressmen and senators will pay attention and consider what they might do to reverse the administration’s appalling decision. Andy McCarthy suggests:

If Congress does not want the war criminals in the war it has authorized swaddled in the Bill of Rights and given the Manhattan pulpit they seek, the solution is very simple: Congress can direct that those who fit the definition of “enemy combatants” — which was spelled out in Section 948a of the 2006 Military Commissions Act — must be tried by military commission for any war crimes. That is, Congress can divest the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear these cases. Furthermore, Congress can make its will emphatically clear by denying appropriations for the transfer of detainees into the U.S. and for the trial of detainees in the civilian federal courts.

Really, if lawmakers do nothing, they are in effect ratifying Holder’s decision and deserve to be held accountable by the voters.

The 9/11 Coalition to Never Forget is holding a rally in Foley Square in New York City today to protest the Obama administration’s decision to try KSM and his fellow 9/11 terrorists in a civilian court. A group of Hollywood stars including Robert Duval, Jon Voight, and Brian Dennehy have signed a letter, which reads:

Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try the 9/11 mastermind and four other terrorists in a civilian court, rather than by the military justice system, should not be allowed to remain without challenge. Not only does it put the national security of the United States of America at risk, but it is a travesty of our justice system. It brings additional heartache to the families and friends of the 9/11 victims, the first responders, and the concerned citizens of New York whose lives were changed forever.

This is not just a New York tragedy, but a terrorist threat to our country and freedom loving people around the world. It provides a platform for these terrorists to spew their propaganda and hatred to the world from a courthouse just blocks from Ground Zero.

We stand with 9/11 families, New York City’s first responders and the U.S. military who will be forced to cope with the consequences of this dangerous decision if it is not reversed.

Perhaps congressmen and senators will pay attention and consider what they might do to reverse the administration’s appalling decision. Andy McCarthy suggests:

If Congress does not want the war criminals in the war it has authorized swaddled in the Bill of Rights and given the Manhattan pulpit they seek, the solution is very simple: Congress can direct that those who fit the definition of “enemy combatants” — which was spelled out in Section 948a of the 2006 Military Commissions Act — must be tried by military commission for any war crimes. That is, Congress can divest the federal courts of jurisdiction to hear these cases. Furthermore, Congress can make its will emphatically clear by denying appropriations for the transfer of detainees into the U.S. and for the trial of detainees in the civilian federal courts.

Really, if lawmakers do nothing, they are in effect ratifying Holder’s decision and deserve to be held accountable by the voters.

Read Less

The Indispensible Senator

There is little doubt these days that Sen. Joe Lieberman is the most important man in the U.S. Senate. In a must-read Wall Street Journal interview he explains his objections to the public option and to ObamaCare more generally. As to the former, he observes:

It was always about how do we make the system more efficient and less costly, and how do we expand coverage to people who can’t afford it, and how do we adopt some consumer protections from the insurance companies . . . So where did this public option come from?. . . It doesn’t help one poor person get insurance who doesn’t have it now. It doesn’t compel one insurance company to provide insurance to somebody who has an illness. And . . . it doesn’t do anything to reduce the cost of insurance.

But it’s not just the public option. He’s not buying the supposed deficit neutrality of the Democrats’ scheme. He’s not buying that the Medicare cuts are for real or that the current bill will control costs. It sure sounds as though he’s going to vote to filibuster the sort of bill moving through the Senate. In short, Lieberman may be the only man, or at least the most resolute one, standing in the way of an atrocious government takeover of health care.

And on Afghanistan, Lieberman addresses concerns about the 18-month deadline to which many conservatives have objected:

But after probing Defense Secretary Bob Gates in a Senate hearing this week, he’s now more confident. “[Gates] compared it to the so-called ‘overwatch,’ which is really what we did in Iraq. As we felt the Iraqis were prepared to take over in certain areas, we pulled back but we didn’t pull out.” Mr. Lieberman believes this “pull back” is what begins in July 2011, and also felt he got assurances that it would start only in “uncontested” areas—and that there is no deadline for when all 30,000 troops must leave.

He cautions, however, that it’s up to the president to rally the country.

On these and other topics — Iran, the KSM trial, and the Patriot Act — Lieberman is once again front and center, arguing for a robust response to the threats America faces and opposing his Democratic former colleagues. One can argue it is only because the Senate generally depends on 60, not 51 votes, that Lieberman has such extraordinary and unique influence. But in truth, Lieberman has that influence because of the serious arguments he presents, his lack of political cant, and the moral clarity he brings to the debate. He has become the indispensable senator.

There is little doubt these days that Sen. Joe Lieberman is the most important man in the U.S. Senate. In a must-read Wall Street Journal interview he explains his objections to the public option and to ObamaCare more generally. As to the former, he observes:

It was always about how do we make the system more efficient and less costly, and how do we expand coverage to people who can’t afford it, and how do we adopt some consumer protections from the insurance companies . . . So where did this public option come from?. . . It doesn’t help one poor person get insurance who doesn’t have it now. It doesn’t compel one insurance company to provide insurance to somebody who has an illness. And . . . it doesn’t do anything to reduce the cost of insurance.

But it’s not just the public option. He’s not buying the supposed deficit neutrality of the Democrats’ scheme. He’s not buying that the Medicare cuts are for real or that the current bill will control costs. It sure sounds as though he’s going to vote to filibuster the sort of bill moving through the Senate. In short, Lieberman may be the only man, or at least the most resolute one, standing in the way of an atrocious government takeover of health care.

And on Afghanistan, Lieberman addresses concerns about the 18-month deadline to which many conservatives have objected:

But after probing Defense Secretary Bob Gates in a Senate hearing this week, he’s now more confident. “[Gates] compared it to the so-called ‘overwatch,’ which is really what we did in Iraq. As we felt the Iraqis were prepared to take over in certain areas, we pulled back but we didn’t pull out.” Mr. Lieberman believes this “pull back” is what begins in July 2011, and also felt he got assurances that it would start only in “uncontested” areas—and that there is no deadline for when all 30,000 troops must leave.

He cautions, however, that it’s up to the president to rally the country.

On these and other topics — Iran, the KSM trial, and the Patriot Act — Lieberman is once again front and center, arguing for a robust response to the threats America faces and opposing his Democratic former colleagues. One can argue it is only because the Senate generally depends on 60, not 51 votes, that Lieberman has such extraordinary and unique influence. But in truth, Lieberman has that influence because of the serious arguments he presents, his lack of political cant, and the moral clarity he brings to the debate. He has become the indispensable senator.

Read Less

Senators in Peril

Sen. Harry Reid is in trouble at home. He is trailing potential GOP challengers and, even worse, he has an approval rating of 38 percent. This is the majority leader of the Senate, staking his career and those of his colleagues on passing ObamaCare.

But he’s in great shape compared to one of his colleagues:

It may be time to start putting Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) at the top of the list of most vulnerable senators up for re-election next year. Rasmussen’s latest survey. . . shows Lincoln trailing all of her little-known Republican opponents, with her trailing frontrunning Republican state senator Gilbert Baker by six points, 47 to 41 percent.

And by making herself the 60th vote to open the Senate health-care debate, she’s effectively painted a target on her back. “A whopping 56 percent of Arkansas voters said they ’strongly opposed’ the Congressional health care plan, with only 18 percent strongly favoring it.” Moreover, she doesn’t make matters any easier for herself by expressing doubts about ObamaCare and the Democrats’ handiwork that has preceded it:

I have the fear that it will create a long-term risk for taxpayers. And I think that comes on the heels of this orgy we’ve had of government spending — whether it’s bailouts for multiple people, multiple groups. I think it’s critical for us to look at how fiscally responsible we can be on behalf of taxpayers.

That “orgy” would include the stimulus and budget bills, which she voted for.

All of this should be sobering news to other Senate Democrats. Are they going to vote for an increasingly toxic health-care bill, which comes on the heels of that “orgy” of spending, and thus put their careers on the line? We will find out, but sometimes it is best just to deliberate and deliberate and deliberate some more.

Sen. Harry Reid is in trouble at home. He is trailing potential GOP challengers and, even worse, he has an approval rating of 38 percent. This is the majority leader of the Senate, staking his career and those of his colleagues on passing ObamaCare.

But he’s in great shape compared to one of his colleagues:

It may be time to start putting Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) at the top of the list of most vulnerable senators up for re-election next year. Rasmussen’s latest survey. . . shows Lincoln trailing all of her little-known Republican opponents, with her trailing frontrunning Republican state senator Gilbert Baker by six points, 47 to 41 percent.

And by making herself the 60th vote to open the Senate health-care debate, she’s effectively painted a target on her back. “A whopping 56 percent of Arkansas voters said they ’strongly opposed’ the Congressional health care plan, with only 18 percent strongly favoring it.” Moreover, she doesn’t make matters any easier for herself by expressing doubts about ObamaCare and the Democrats’ handiwork that has preceded it:

I have the fear that it will create a long-term risk for taxpayers. And I think that comes on the heels of this orgy we’ve had of government spending — whether it’s bailouts for multiple people, multiple groups. I think it’s critical for us to look at how fiscally responsible we can be on behalf of taxpayers.

That “orgy” would include the stimulus and budget bills, which she voted for.

All of this should be sobering news to other Senate Democrats. Are they going to vote for an increasingly toxic health-care bill, which comes on the heels of that “orgy” of spending, and thus put their careers on the line? We will find out, but sometimes it is best just to deliberate and deliberate and deliberate some more.

Read Less

Flotsam and Jetsam

More doctors say “no” to Obamacare: “A coalition representing 240,000 physician specialists, like the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, said it ‘must oppose the bill as currently written.'” I wonder how many doctors are going to leave the AMA over its “expressed support for the legislation’s central elements.”

There is at least one major impediment to a health-care bill: “After months of trying to craft a 60-vote coalition based on the finer points of health care policy, Senate Democrats are growing increasingly worried that abortion will upend what had become a clear path to approving the overhaul bill.”

Uh oh: “Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ office confirmed late Friday night that the Montana Democrat was carrying on an affair with his state office director, Melodee Hanes, when he nominated her to be U.S. attorney in Montana. According to a source familiar with their relationship, Hanes and Baucus began their relationship in the summer of 2008 – nearly a year before Baucus and his wife, Wanda, divorced in April 2009.”

Mona Charen: “Barack Obama is demonstrating bottomless reservoirs of gracelessness. A full 13 months after his election, in the course of justifying the deployment of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, President Obama could not spare a word of praise for George W. Bush — not even when recounting the nation’s ‘unified’ response to 9/11. To the contrary, throughout his pained recitation of the choices we face in Afghanistan, he adverted at least half a dozen times to the supposed blunders of his predecessor.”

It seems as though the envoy-itis hasn’t worked out so well for the Obami foreign policy. But this bit of super spin about George Mitchell is quite amusing: “throughout a year of exhausting shuttle diplomacy to the Middle East and European capitals, he has not been able to achieve the major task Obama assigned him: getting Israelis and Palestinians back to the peace table.” Er, that’s one way of describing the most counterproductive year in Middle East diplomacy in decades, or maybe in history.

Meanwhile, Michael Goldfarb goes after the mealy-mouthed envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration. But the president is what matters here: “He pledged to put an end to the genocide there, and in early 2007 Biden even went so far as to call for deploying American troops to the country. As Obama’s first year comes to a close, his administration is indulging an envoy whose approach is defined by his desire to engage the war criminals who rule Sudan. Gration is Obama’s guy, and ultimately, he is implementing Obama’s policy.”

Obama drops seven points in a month in the CNN/Opinion Research poll; down to a 48-to-50% approval/disapproval rating. And that is among “American adults,” not all of whom are registered voters.

Charles Krauthammer on the “executive privilege” objection to the Obami’s social secretary’s testifying before Congress: “What is comical about this is it’s being invoked for a social secretary in a circumstance where, in the original Supreme Court rulings, it was intended for high officials with important state secrets. What was the state secret here — the nature of the flower arrangements at the head table? You know, it is as if somebody is invoking the Fifth Amendment in a dispute over a parking ticket.”

Roger Pilon of CATO explains the environmentalists’ dilemma: “At bottom, the greens face three basic problems. First, by no means is the science of global warming ‘settled’ — if anything, the fraud Climategate surfaced has settled that question. Second, even if global warming were a settled science, the contribution of human activity is anything but certain. And finally, most important, even if the answers to those two questions were clear, the costs — or benefits — of global warming are unknown, but the costs of the proposals promoted by the greens are astronomical.”

More doctors say “no” to Obamacare: “A coalition representing 240,000 physician specialists, like the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, said it ‘must oppose the bill as currently written.'” I wonder how many doctors are going to leave the AMA over its “expressed support for the legislation’s central elements.”

There is at least one major impediment to a health-care bill: “After months of trying to craft a 60-vote coalition based on the finer points of health care policy, Senate Democrats are growing increasingly worried that abortion will upend what had become a clear path to approving the overhaul bill.”

Uh oh: “Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ office confirmed late Friday night that the Montana Democrat was carrying on an affair with his state office director, Melodee Hanes, when he nominated her to be U.S. attorney in Montana. According to a source familiar with their relationship, Hanes and Baucus began their relationship in the summer of 2008 – nearly a year before Baucus and his wife, Wanda, divorced in April 2009.”

Mona Charen: “Barack Obama is demonstrating bottomless reservoirs of gracelessness. A full 13 months after his election, in the course of justifying the deployment of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, President Obama could not spare a word of praise for George W. Bush — not even when recounting the nation’s ‘unified’ response to 9/11. To the contrary, throughout his pained recitation of the choices we face in Afghanistan, he adverted at least half a dozen times to the supposed blunders of his predecessor.”

It seems as though the envoy-itis hasn’t worked out so well for the Obami foreign policy. But this bit of super spin about George Mitchell is quite amusing: “throughout a year of exhausting shuttle diplomacy to the Middle East and European capitals, he has not been able to achieve the major task Obama assigned him: getting Israelis and Palestinians back to the peace table.” Er, that’s one way of describing the most counterproductive year in Middle East diplomacy in decades, or maybe in history.

Meanwhile, Michael Goldfarb goes after the mealy-mouthed envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration. But the president is what matters here: “He pledged to put an end to the genocide there, and in early 2007 Biden even went so far as to call for deploying American troops to the country. As Obama’s first year comes to a close, his administration is indulging an envoy whose approach is defined by his desire to engage the war criminals who rule Sudan. Gration is Obama’s guy, and ultimately, he is implementing Obama’s policy.”

Obama drops seven points in a month in the CNN/Opinion Research poll; down to a 48-to-50% approval/disapproval rating. And that is among “American adults,” not all of whom are registered voters.

Charles Krauthammer on the “executive privilege” objection to the Obami’s social secretary’s testifying before Congress: “What is comical about this is it’s being invoked for a social secretary in a circumstance where, in the original Supreme Court rulings, it was intended for high officials with important state secrets. What was the state secret here — the nature of the flower arrangements at the head table? You know, it is as if somebody is invoking the Fifth Amendment in a dispute over a parking ticket.”

Roger Pilon of CATO explains the environmentalists’ dilemma: “At bottom, the greens face three basic problems. First, by no means is the science of global warming ‘settled’ — if anything, the fraud Climategate surfaced has settled that question. Second, even if global warming were a settled science, the contribution of human activity is anything but certain. And finally, most important, even if the answers to those two questions were clear, the costs — or benefits — of global warming are unknown, but the costs of the proposals promoted by the greens are astronomical.”

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.